Scott Hendrix, Facilities Development, City of Charlottesville
You work in Facilities. What, in your own words, would you say you do?
I work in Facilities Development for the City (not to be confused with Facilities Maintenance…they are two distinct Divisions within Public Works). Facilities Development is charged with the renovation, construction, and development of real property owned by the City of Charlottesville and Charlottesville City Schools (and, occasionally jointly-owned properties with Albemarle County). There are about 100 City properties in the portfolio for which Facilities Development has some responsibility…some brand new and some dating back over 100 years. My work generally involves the management of the City’s small capital project improvement program, and also project management of all types of projects. Facilities Development is a small, five person operation. But, in some years we’re managing over $20,000,000 in construction and renovation activities…so, everyone is managing projects to some degree. We’ve got a great team!
What is the best part of your job? The most difficult part?
My education and background, prior to joining the City in 2002, was design and project management. So, by far, the best part of my job is working with other creative designers and architects in developing plans and ideas for new facility development, construction, or renovation; and, seeing those designs evolve into real, 3D spaces for people to work and play in. I love to create and build!
The most difficult part of my job, generally, deals with the world of public procurement. It’s a somewhat complicated process based upon awarding work to the lowest price bidder…which sometimes results in hiring of contractors who aren’t ready for prime time. That’s not to say that we don’t often get to work with great and qualified contractors…we most certainly do. But we also sometimes get saddled with the low bid contractor who doesn’t understand the complexities and requirements of commercial construction…no matter how clearly it may have been spelled out in the bid documents. When that happens, and the “deer in the headlights” look in their eyes becomes obvious, then the construction phase of a project can be long and painful for everyone involved.
How does your job most directly impact the average person?
My job, I think, has a significant impact on local citizens and the people who serve them. We build and renovate the work spaces where City staff serve the local citizenry; we build and renovate recreational and fitness facilities; we build and renovate public transportation centers; we build and renovate school classrooms, labs, gymnasiums and theater spaces. The quality of these spaces has a direct impact on City and School staff, and, the citizens or students they serve.
Our work is guided by the vision of Charlottesville’s leadership. We design and build facilities to be as energy efficient as possible…often incorporating LEED certification into the projects (Did you know the City has three LEED Gold and two LEED Platinum buildings as certified by USGBC? That is a pretty big deal for a city our size. http://www.usgbc.org/). By following LEED standards, we improve the long-term economic sustainability of the facility, and provide for greener and healthier spaces for work, recreation, and learning. We design educational facilities intended to support the goals of life-long learning. New STEM facilities at Charlottesville City Schools are state-of-the-art. Within the past decade, Facilities Development has constructed nearly $30,000,000 in facility improvements for Charlottesville Are Transit (CAT)…all LEED certified and all to support the transportation connectedness of the Charlottesville area.
What is the most interesting project or work experience that you’ve had while with the City?
Wow…there have been many. Probably the project with which I’m most proud to have been a part of was the design and development of the CAT Operations Center out on Avon Street which opened in 2010. It was a challenging project to design as the site lies in Albemarle County and on an entrance corridor (meaning lots layers of review and approval by Albemarle County). The result turned out quite nice I think…perhaps one of the better local examples of integrating a good aesthetic into an industrial site. We pushed our architects and engineers hard to create very efficient buildings and arrangements for the six acre site. The facility has a LEED Gold certification and energy consumption is much lower than it was at the previous (much smaller) site. Our metric for success of any project is “is the client happy?” We’ve heard nothing but “thank you” from the CAT team…that is very rewarding.
What is a little-known fact about you?
I’m a summer water sports junkie. Wake boarding, skiing, jet-skiing…if it goes fast across the water, I’m on it. However, at nearly 52, I’m struggling a bit to keep up with my daughters and their boyfriends, and the impact with the water is starting to hurt a bit more. Maybe I should slow down? Maybe not.